2 Kings 17:7-23 – The Withdrawal of Blessing: God’s Favored Nation No More

Posted: September 5, 2019 in 12-2 Kings

2 Kings 17:7-23

Samaria Falls to Assyria

Reading this passage this morning brought up the question in my mind, “Who are we doing to depend on?” This question is for us as Christians in 21st century America. Are we going to depend on our leaders to lead this nation toward God? That’s the question for today.

On one side of the political spectrum, you have the removal of God from the political platform of one of our country’s major political parties in our country recently passed a resolution at its national level stating that they supported “rational public policy based on sound science and universal humanistic values.” It began in the 2012 party convention when there was a move to remove all references to God in their platform. There was such a firestorm back then that they quickly added those references back during a low attendance afternoon session of the convention. In the current election cycle for 2020, that same political party is wanting to remove “so help me God” from oaths given before congressional committees. One pastor of a super-large Baptist Church in Dallas, TX warns that any talk of God from this political party is a God of their own creation when he says, “Don’t be fooled by that. When they talk about God, they are not talking about the real God — the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob, the God who revealed Himself in the Bible. They are not talking about the real God. [They] are talking about an imaginary God they have created in their own minds.” To lend support to what this pastor said to a certain degree, a presidential candidate recently stated in a debate that his party “doesn’t talk about God much for a very good reason, which is the party’s commitment to the separation of church and state.”

On the other side of the political spectrum, the other party seems to be caught up in name calling and bullying instead of articulating their own position. They seem to be more concerned with winning a game of who can call who a bigger idiot instead of justifying conservative policies. The current president, though his administration’s tough stance on political issues such as immigration enforcement and other issues, appeals to rural and suburban Americans, he cannot get out of his own way with his abrasive rhetoric. His policy narrative so far has been similar to the Reagan administration of the 1980s. However, Reagan was wildly popular within his own party and was at least highly respected by his opposition. The current president seems to have the attitude of “if you are for me, you are against me!” Thus, the conservative political agenda that appeals to many Christians ends up being a personality debate about the president rather than the issues at hand. With this happening, if the issue is associated as one favored by the current president, then, it is demonized out of hand by his opposition rather than the issue being considered on its own merits. This cult of personality that is the current president does nothing to help expand his party and the values that it holds and will eventually erode away the appeal of his party.

So, where does that leave us, I see the appeal of conservative values continuing to erode away in our country. Because of the cult of personality that is the current president, the secularistic and humanistic values of a large percentage of our nation, mostly in the urbanized areas of our country (where virtually half our nation’s population lives now) will continue to gain traction and Christian values will continue to diminish as the guiding force in our nation’s politics. The nation was becoming increasingly secularistic to begin with, but it seems to have been exacerbated in the past few years. The fashioning of a God that is different from the God of the Bible will continue just as predicted in 2 Timothy 4:3 where the Apostle Paul stated, “For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.”

The current landscape of politics as it applies to our nation’s collective relationship with God is what I thought of this morning as I read through this passage that gives us the end of the ancient kingdom of Israel, the northern kingdom. From this point right here, the ancient northern kingdom (the northern half of the once united kingdom of the judges, David and Solomon) is no more. Never to exist again. It is that idea of God withdrawing his protective favor from the nations of Israel and Judah that got me to thinking about our own country this morning. We have enjoyed favor from God just like ancient Israel/Judah because our nation once embraced God and sought his favor. However, now, it seems that we are running as far as we can in the opposite direction and calling it Enlightenment, patting ourselves on our own backs for having shed the ancient mystical beliefs of Christianity. I bet that was the very same thing that Israel/Judah did. That’s what I thought of this morning and how it applies to our own country in this, the 21st century. Let’s read the passage, 2 Kings 17:7-23, now and see if you can see the parallels for yourself:

7 This occurred because the people of Israel had sinned against the Lord their God, who had brought them up out of the land of Egypt from under the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt. They had worshiped other gods 8 and walked in the customs of the nations whom the Lord drove out before the people of Israel, and in the customs that the kings of Israel had introduced.[a] 9 The people of Israel secretly did things that were not right against the Lord their God. They built for themselves high places at all their towns, from watchtower to fortified city; 10 they set up for themselves pillars and sacred poles[b] on every high hill and under every green tree; 11 there they made offerings on all the high places, as the nations did whom the Lord carried away before them. They did wicked things, provoking the Lord to anger; 12 they served idols, of which the Lord had said to them, “You shall not do this.” 13 Yet the Lord warned Israel and Judah by every prophet and every seer, saying, “Turn from your evil ways and keep my commandments and my statutes, in accordance with all the law that I commanded your ancestors and that I sent to you by my servants the prophets.” 14 They would not listen but were stubborn, as their ancestors had been, who did not believe in the Lord their God. 15 They despised his statutes, and his covenant that he made with their ancestors, and the warnings that he gave them. They went after false idols and became false; they followed the nations that were around them, concerning whom the Lord had commanded them that they should not do as they did. 16 They rejected all the commandments of the Lord their God and made for themselves cast images of two calves; they made a sacred pole,[c] worshiped all the host of heaven, and served Baal. 17 They made their sons and their daughters pass through fire; they used divination and augury; and they sold themselves to do evil in the sight of the Lord, provoking him to anger. 18 Therefore the Lord was very angry with Israel and removed them out of his sight; none was left but the tribe of Judah alone.

19 Judah also did not keep the commandments of the Lord their God but walked in the customs that Israel had introduced. 20 The Lord rejected all the descendants of Israel; he punished them and gave them into the hand of plunderers, until he had banished them from his presence.

21 When he had torn Israel from the house of David, they made Jeroboam son of Nebat king. Jeroboam drove Israel from following the Lord and made them commit great sin. 22 The people of Israel continued in all the sins that Jeroboam committed; they did not depart from them 23 until the Lord removed Israel out of his sight, as he had foretold through all his servants the prophets. So Israel was exiled from their own land to Assyria until this day.

In this passage, we see that the Lord judged the people of Israel because they had copied the evil customs of the surrounding nations, worshiping false gods, accommodating pagan customs, and following their own desires. Those who create their own religion tend to fashion a religion that suits individual freedoms and desires. And to live for oneself, as Israel learned, brings consequences from God. Sometimes, following God is difficult, painful, and against the trends in the cultures in which we operate, but consider the alternative. What God thinks of us is infinitely and eternally more important than what the culture surrounding us or, even on a smaller scale, what the people within our sphere of known people think of us.

Does that mean we withdraw from the world? Does this mean we continue to be in a relaxed state as American Christians? Does this mean we continue to look to our elected officials to lead us in the right direction – toward God? I think the answer to all those questions is no. What’s the answer?

It means that we have the most work to do that Christians have ever had to do. Gone are the days of easy Christianity. We must encounter the culture daily with the love and truth of God. It means that each one of us in every walk of life must engage our spheres of influence in evangelistic ways that draws people unto Christ not away from Him. We must engage people with the truth of God’s Word (which means we actually have to know the Bible and not just what we think it means) in loving ways that draw them unto Christ.

Maybe just maybe if we do this on a daily basis every day of every year, God will honor our efforts and keep His hand of blessing upon our nation.

Amen and Amen.

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